Label: Ram RecordsScore: 7/10
Seemingly coming out of nowhere at the end of 2011 with the now anthem-like Headlock, Rene LaVice was probably the least known yet most asked about name when Ram announced he was joining the label exclusively alongside the major signing of Calyx & Teebee to the Hornchurch fold. Fast-forward over a year and the Toronto native is here with the first full-length fruits of his labours on his debut album, Insidious. It may be surprising that an artist who has only really had a few releases on Ram in the past 12 months is already at the stage for putting out an LP but it’s an obvious sign that Andy C and Ram have faith in his talent and ability and he’s certainly brought some strong music to the table.
Opening the set with the dark grinding bass of So Inspired To Fail, its evident Rene has the utmost respect for the old school Ram sound with his own unique added twist. Tracks such as Regrets, More Wore and Dark Passenger owe more than just a little nod to acts like Ram Trilogy. Regrets conjures up intense bass and percussive drums while More Wore is a real eyes down in the rave piece of D&B with brutal brooding bass in abundance. He dots the album with a few vocal tracks too, the pick being title track Insidious featuring Ivy Mairy and watch out for bad boy ragga tinged stylings of Trinity Chris on the hip hop/dubstep hybrid, Rude Selection.
Standout track on the entire album for me though is Perfect World. A rugged and raw roller and a staple of many an Andy C set, after the 32 bar intro it drops with snappy snares and a growler of a lead bassline, prompting you to pull the most hideous of screw faces. It’s a roller in the mould of something like Four Days by Bad Company, which, for me, works just fine. When that vocal tells you to ‘drop’ you do exactly as you’re told. Another personal favourite for me is Tap Dat where Mr LaVice steps things out to the max and takes the sub so down low so you can feel it in your chest. It’s grimy with a hint of a minimal edge and will be a sure fire winner with the heads. Oh, and I must give an honourable mention to Vice Cream, which may not be to everyone’s taste when they hear it but its a fun tune and its electro sound makes it enjoyable rave fodder.
I will admit this album took me a couple of go’s before I got to grips with it, which certainly isn’t a criticism in any way. I think Insidious will grow on you over time and with repeated listens, something really good albums have the ability to do. Rene LaVice has had a pretty quick rise to prominence since being signed but with the backing of Ram Records and hopefully some more solid music to come, he’s sure to make a serious impact on drum and bass in 2013 and beyond.